Cumulative Effects of Marine Shipping

CLIENT: T’Sou-ke First Nation
DATE: August 2020 – March 2024

Project Overview

T’Sou-ke Nation is located at the intersection of rich marine territory and coastal shipping lanes near a large settler population. Here, coastal resources are impacted by natural and human activities that affect the ecological and economic components of the community fabric. First Nations, including the T’Sou-ke Nation, still struggle to participate in co-management and shared decision-making when it comes to coastal resources. The process of engagement and consultation fails to recognize that First Nations are rights holders, not stakeholders.

Consultation and engagement are an investment of time and money, which are valued resources for any functioning entity. But, the involvement of too many groups can lead to consultation paralysis and, although many of these Indigenous-specific accommodation measures enable the hiring of technical consultants, the core foundation and governance structure of these communities struggle to meet the arbitrary program-specific goals and red tape nested in departmental objectives.

For Shift Environmental, consultation is not the goal; but a means to build strong and sustainable communities. Meeting program requirements must not be a barrier to the overall goals of the community. Any accommodation, engagement, and consultation must be nested in the T’Sou-ke Nation’s overall strategic framework. The fundamental value of shared decision-making through a co-governance approach is the path chosen by T’Sou-ke First Nation to build towards a strong community, trusted kinship, a healthy Indigenous culture, and productive lands and waters. The Cumulative Effects of Marine Shipping is an initiative through Transport Canada to understand shipping activity on the marine environment. These projects contribute towards a regional and national assessment to mitigate the impacts of shipping.


  • 2020–2021: a report on the Coastal Resource Management Perspective of the T’Sou-ke First Nation
  • 2021–2022: a literature review on survey methodologies for measuring eelgrass density and how vessel activities impact eelgrass beds
  • 2021–2022: a standard operating procedure for aerial mapping techniques to determine eelgrass health
  • 2022–2023: a report analyzing wake buoy data in T’Sou-ke First Nation marine territory and describing the impacts of wake on eelgrass
  • 2022–2024: methodology for conducting a full effects assessment on eelgrass
  • Secured $140k in funding over 4 years

A marine value is not a law or principal of nature or physics….it is a human construct; nature moves along on the principals of evolution; it doesn’t care about right or wrong or values; it moves along according to the rawness of the survival of the fittest.

– T’Sou-ke Nation Community Member

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